Stevie Y takes reins of Team Canada

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Steve Yzerman's audition has begun.

After being officially introduced yesterday in Calgary as Canada's GM for this spring's world championships in Russia, could Yzerman be positioning himself to be part of Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver?

"That question is going to be asked," Yzerman told the Sun yesterday from Calgary. "That's a long way off.

"You know, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe have run the program in the last two Olympics and they've done a great job. I would expect they'll run it again in 2010.

"If they want me to be part of that team then, I'd be honoured.

"Right now, all I'm thinking about is 2007 and this Team Canada."

If the former Red Wings great pours as much effort into this team as he did as a player, Canada will be in good hands.

"I feel like this is going to be a good challenge for me and a lot of fun to be part of," said Yzerman, who now is the Wings' vice-president. "I've talked before about wanting to move into a role in management after my career and I felt like this was a good opportunity for me.

"I spoke with (Detroit GM) Ken Holland and (assistant GM) Jim Nill and they were both supportive of the idea. They felt like this would be a good move for me and a good challenge to build this team. I'm looking forward to it, but I've got a lot of work ahead of me."

WON OLYMPIC GOLD

Yzerman, a Nepean native who won gold with Team Canada in 2002 at the Salt Lake Games, has a good handle on Canadian players.

Though many will come from non-playoff teams, Yzerman will leave spots open for players eliminated in the first round.

"Ideally, we'd like to have the bulk of our team in place by early April, but that's the perfect scenario," said Yzerman. "Right now, I've got a list of every Canadian player in the NHL and even a few juniors. That's what I'm going to work off of for the time being.

"I know it's going to be disappointing for some guys who don't make the playoffs. But I think everybody knows when they put on a Canadian hockey jersey there is great pride and they're going to enjoy this."

WILL CONSIDER QUINN

Yzerman must also choose a coaching staff. He said he will consider former Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn.

If Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, Florida's Jacques Martin and St. Louis' Andy Murray aren't in the playoffs, it's expected they'll also be on Yzerman's list.

"Certainly, you have to consider Pat Quinn because he's available," said Yzerman. "Some of the people I want to speak with are coaching in the league right now."


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